Why 'Shoulds' Will Never Fulfill Your Life


Living under the strict 'should regime' has separated us from our Heart's true values and longings

Is Your Life Run by Shoulds?

It is one thing to write a book called ‘Imagine Being Kind to Yourself’ and quite another to live it consistently and keep uncovering areas that still need a good dose of kindness to become fully conscious and able to experience true peace. Life has consistently and generously given me plenty of opportunities to deepen my own message of Self-Love and waking up to the sleepy parts, still unconsciously struggling and snoozing in the 'land of Samskara.'

In one of my earlier ‘awakenings’, I saw how much of my life was still run by the tyranny of the mind's 'itty-bitty-shi–y-shoulds.' It felt like a red thread running through every pattern of my life's garment, informing every decision I'd ever made. It was huge! Even today after having exposed this pattern so blatantly, I can still slip back into an old should pattern. When I do, my body contracts, feels rigid, is not happy, not inspired, not Loving… On the other hand, when I slip back out and drop into my Heart again, I feel happy, soft, open, inspired and receptive to Life. The signs are obvious and I am listening.

It feels like we have all lived under a should regime where we have ignorantly obeyed the outer world, while being completely out of touch with our own inner world with its longings, values and dreams.

How to live from Your Heart?

Yes, how do we successfully move from this should regime to the gentle guidance of the Heart? This is such an important question and it actually prompted me to create a program how to do that. I called it 'The 40 day should-free mind cleanse.' (Later I changed the title to 'Trusting your Self without a Doubt.') It felt timely because so many of us are shifting out of old behaviors, dictated by the should regime, while not quite knowing what to do instead and what to trust.

We are giving birth to ourSelves in a way we have never done before and are being asked to trust our Heart. We are slipping into our own natural flow free from the 'middle-identity of should,' which created a split inside between being and doing.

Being and Doing is really the same. What I am, cannot be separate from what I do unless I put a should in between. Without this 'middle identity' I am my own natural flow, naturally unfolding. Just like the river's flow is not separate from the water.

This requires that I know myself really well from the inside out beyond the shoulds and projections from the world. It requires that I effortlessly learn to listen to and follow this inner flow as me. No small task after eons of living outside of it. When you start paying attention to what you long for, what matters to you, what you truly value and envision, you are in touch with your Heart. This is what you'll learn to trust more and more as you leave behind the shoulds.

Catching a Should 

We need to know what this should regime is before we turn away from it. Being who we thought we were needs to be replaced by who we really are. Not just as a concept, but as one living reality. Living as if you are someone else can never bring you peace or fulfillment. Therefore, we need to uncover the identity of who we thought and were taught we should be first. An essential first step is to catch yourself saying or feeling that you should do or be something other than you are.

For instance are you trying to be nice when you really are pissed off? Should you be nice? Or are you saying yes when you really want to say no? Should you agree?

That is where the split happens and your wise Heart is silenced. The only option at that point is to be like the rest of the world and fit in. It sucks, doesn't it, and it will never fulfill you. Living under the should regime will never, ever, ever make you feel fulfilled or give you what your Heart longs for. Never! So catching these little shoulds is essential.

In my own experience, it felt so familiar to believe that I should do this and should be that, to the point that I didn't even know there was an alternative. Not only that, when I started dismantling my own should-barrier I noticed how most people live their life that way … and how tempting it was to believe that I should remain like them after all!

I can't say this has been the most comfortable journey, moving through and letting go of layers and layers of false identities that were never me anyway. Little by little this process has pushed me out of the comfort zone of being part of the crowd and instead made me stand out as Me! Did I hear naked and vulnerable? You'd bet.

Where do I find Me?

Start in your Heart. It is the mouthpiece of your greater Self and it knows how to guide you through the turmoil we've all been wrapped up in for so long. It's a faint whisper at first because we are not attuned to it yet. As you start turning your attention in your Heart's direction, you'll notice it's actually not all that faint. It's just that our inner ears need to be Q-tipped.

When you stop listening to the shoulds, you can tune into other things – your Heart in this case. So as the should-barrier starts crumbling by lack of attention, like magic the real Me shows up, smack in the middle of your Heart expressing itself through its longings, language and values.

What do you long for? Respect? Love? Self expression?

What makes you really happy? Staying home when everyone else goes partying? Sharing intimate conversations with a close friend?

What do you value more than anything in life? Authenticity? Creativity?

Are you aware how important that is for you? 

'All it takes' are these 2 steps:

  • First you become aware of the should-barrier that has been hiding your Heart.
  • Then you learn to listen to, trust and speak from your Heart.

It sounds easy enough, doesn't it? But both you and I know that it takes time to leave behind an identity that is so familiar and accepted in the world. It takes courage too. Courage to stand out and be different in the face of those still living under the should regime. It feels a bit naked in the beginning – well actually all the way through, but eventually you get used to feeling that way without the need to cover yourself up again.

Being who I am is so different than being who I think I should be.

Doing what I do from my Heart, is so different from what I think I should do.

 I'm still learning.

Let's practice

Let's practice the steps before I sign off today: Try to get curious about when you feel you should be or do something, and then … pause. Take a breath and notice how it feels in your body ... Take another breath and ask your Self if that is what you truly want. With practice as you learn to trust what you truly want, you'll notice how quickly you actually can shift from overwhelm and contraction to inspiration and inspired action. Learning to trust your Heart takes time, and trust me, it's worth every moment of it.

Finally, it's the only true source of peace, confidence and fulfillment in our life.

Pernilla Lillarose is a Self Love Mystic and Mentor at Divine Feminine Flow. Contact her for a free 30 discovery session to learn how true Self Love can turn your whole life around.

This article was originally published at Divine Feminine Flow. Reprinted with permission from the author.